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Cesium-137 flow into sea 30 times greater than stated by TEPCO: report
October 29, 2011
Mainichi Daily News
(Mainichi Japan)

smoke billows from Fukushima No.1 NPP, 03-22-11 (AP)
In this photo from a footage of a live camera released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), black smoke billows from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okumamachi, northeastern Japan, on March 22, 2011. (AP)

PARIS (Kyodo) -- The amount of radioactive cesium-137 that flowed into the Pacific after the start of Japan's nuclear crisis was probably nearly 30 times the amount stated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. in May, according to a recent report by a French research institute. [Accident nucléaire de Fukushima-Daiichi : l'IRSN publie une mise â jour de sa note d'information sur l'impact sur le milieu marin des rejets radioactifs consécutifs â l'accident, 10-27-11]

The Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety said the amount of the isotope that flowed into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant between March 21 and mid-July reached an estimated 27.1 quadrillion becquerels. A quadrillion is equivalent to 1,000 trillion.

Of the amount, 82 percent had flowed into the sea by April 8, according to the study, which noted that the amount released as a result of the disaster triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami was unprecedented.

The report also said the Pacific was polluted at an exceptional speed because the plant stands in a coastal area with strong currents, though it said the impact of the contamination on marine life in remote waters is likely to wane from autumn.

But the institute warned that a significant degree of pollution would remain in waters off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. Radioactive cesium-137 has a half life of around 30 years.

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